Saturday, December 22, 2007

California paper chase

Hey, remember Keith Higginbotham? Formerly of the P-T? His was the first comment submitted in response to "Paper Chase" at SF, a long, but worthwhile read that does a terrific job summing up what happened when MediaNews attempted to use its clustering business practice in NorCal to achieve its long-term goal to bust the union, and what the Guild has done and is doing to mobilize and organize Bay Area workers. at the Contra Costa Times, part of the BANG (Bay Area Newspaper Group. The P-T and LADN are part of LANG, Los Angeles Newspaper Group).

From "Paper Chase" –

MediaNews had decided to merge the 120 employees of ANG and the 180 nonunion employees of the Contra Costa Times into the new BANG cluster. With 300 employees, the union, which had 80 dues-paying members, no longer had the official support of 50 percent of staff that it required for recognition. MediaNews had, without warning, shut down the union its members had relied on for salary and benefit negotiations and arbitration, right in front of them.


In a recent telephone interview, Singleton defended his decision to stop recognizing the ANG union. "It was the only fair thing to do," he said. "We had to recognize the rights of the majority of employees."


The 34,000-member national Newspaper Guild was so ticked off that it filed multiple unfair labor practices charges with the National Labor Relations Board, which are still pending, and put up the $500,000 for the One Big BANG campaign. Guild president Linda Foley says the campaign is perhaps the most important effort under way in the newspaper industry. "We have an organizing campaign going on in Southern California and ongoing negotiations in Pennsylvania, but what's going on in the Bay Area is serious," she says. "MediaNews just decided to withdraw recognition of a bargaining unit, and we don't intend to let that go."
We don't intend "to let that go" here in LANG, either.

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